Being a Broncos fan in Baltimore is hard, maybe annoying is a better word. I have dealt with it my entire life, well my entire football life. The first NFL season I remember actually following was the 1986 season. Baltimore did not have a team then. I was a Denver Broncos fan, and the only way I can explain it is because my first NFL game was the Broncos vs. the Colts in Baltimore in 1983. It was John Elway’s second NFL game and the fans here hated him because the Colts drafted him, but he refused to play for Ersay. (Can you blame him?!) Me being me, I went against the grain and loved the man everyone hated. The following year Ersay took the Colts from Baltimore in the middle of the night and move them to Indianapolis. It wouldn’t have mattered if Elway played for the Colts anyway because he would have only been in Baltimore for a year, but people in Baltimore still hate the Broncos for what happened over 30 years ago. (They should really watch the ESPN 30 for 30 Elway to Marino documentary about the 1983 draft to get the story of what really happened.)
The years up until 1996 were not so bad being a Broncos fan in Baltimore, except for those three Super Bowl losses (but that had nothing to do with living in Baltimore). Since Baltimore did not have a football team, everyone liked a bunch of different teams. Yes the majority of folks were Redskins fans, but that was not a big deal. The Redskins fans did not give me a harder time than any other fans. Even though I only live 45 minutes from Washington, D.C., I’ve never considered myself a DC person. Everything changed in 1996 when Baltimore finally got a new football team, when Modell took the Browns out of Cleveland and moved the Ravens into Baltimore. I guess all those fans just dropped being fans of teams they had followed for the past 12 years. I was not about to do that. I am loyal. I was never a Colts fan because I really did not get into the NFL until after the Colts left Baltimore (I was only 12). I had always been a Broncos fan, and I was not about to switch teams abandoning my love for the Broncos just because Baltimore suddenly got a team. I don’t know how people do that. Maybe they were never really true fans of the other teams that occupied their time for those 12 years between the Colts and the Ravens, but I bleed orange and blue and that will never change!
I still get the question of why I am not a Ravens fans since I live in Baltimore. I didn’t know it was a requirement of residency to be a Ravens fans. No thank you. I’ve been a Broncos fan for over 30 years, regardless of where I live. Although there was a brief moment in time (actually it was two years) that I liked the Ravens, but never more than the Broncos. Those were the two years when Shannon Sharpe (from the Broncos) was on the Ravens. I actually bought season tickets, not just for Shannon but just for football. (If Baltimore suddenly got an NBA team, I would get season tickets but still be a Memphis Grizzlies fan.) The Ravens were my second favorite team back in 2001 when they won the Super Bowl with Shannon Sharpe. Ironically hardly any of the diehard Ravens fans today were even Ravens fans back then. I know this because they all used to make fun of me and were not into all that first Super Bowl hoopla like I was. But since the last Super Bowl win a few years ago, everyone is suddenly a diehard, can’t miss a game Ravens fan. And they let me know it.
With the invention of social media, specifically Facebook, the Broncos bashing never stops. But more than that, it is people I actually know like friends and coworkers. These people never miss an opportunity to tell me how the Broncos ‘suck’ and the Ravens are wonderful. If the Ravens defeat the Broncos, my phone blows up with texts and comments about the game. And the next morning at work, they all make a comment laughing about what a great game it was with the Ravens beating the Broncos. But when the Broncos defeat the Ravens it’s crickets – I hear nothing. No one says anything to me online or at work. It is as if there wasn’t even a game. No one says a word to me about the game. And I don’t brag about the Broncos defeating the Ravens, even though that’s exactly what they do to me when the Ravens win. So over the years, the Ravens fans have made me hate the Ravens. They went from being my second favorite team to my least favorite team, well my least favorite after the Patriots and whatever team employs the dog killer.
I have finally found some fellow Broncos fans in Baltimore – just took me over 30 years! Thanks to Rick Smith, this displaced Broncos fan now has a place to call home on Sundays. Rick has created a new facebook group Denver Broncos Fan Club – Baltimore Chapter, and we meet on Sundays at Tin Roof downtown. To join our group which is quickly growing, please click here. To follow us on Twitter @BRONCOSfcBMORE, please click here. Hope to see you one Sunday at Tin Roof!